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christmas in london

Didn't realize so much is closed during the few days we're there (arrive morning of Dec 24; leave for Paris Dec 28). Family of 4 (Traveling with a 21 year old and 16 year old) Can you suggest an itinerary for us? We've never been to Great Britain before.
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Hi Michelle! While it's true that London can crawl to a near-standstill on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 26, a public holiday here), the festive season does offer a great opportunity to enjoy the usually crowded city at a more leisurely pace. As the Tube and other public transit shuts down, plan on doing some walking (or see if you can snag one of the city's "Boris" bikes for a tour, though these will be in short supply given demand!). One of my favorite walks is from the Houses of Parliament across to the South Bank of the Thames and then east to the Tate Modern, Globe Theatre, and St. Paul's. For something a little more organized, London Walks offers guided tours on Christmas Day as well as a Dickens' themed walk on Christmas Eve hosted by the Lord Mayor of London (http://www.walks.com). Plan accordingly and also try to get a hotel close to the city center so you're not reliant on expensive taxis to get home. And while most people will be away or at home feasting with family, there will be plenty of restaurants and bars still open for business. You could maybe even try something a bit different for your Christmas Day nosh, like a curry at The Cinammon House or high tea at The Ritz. Not sure if your family likes soccer, but Boxing Day matches here are a annual tradition. If you can snag tickets, English Premiership clubs Arsenal and Fulham are both playing at home on the 26th. Lastly, being Christmas and all, don't miss the carol services at any number of local churches or even at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul's Cathedral. I know it might be a slight disappointment not being able to get into all the major attractions like the Tate or British Museum (open on the 27th, of course), but am sure you'll have a blast. Enjoy the festive spirit, not to mention parade of lights around places like Oxford Circus and Piccadilly. Hope this helps!
  • Alistair
     answered this on September 28, 2012 at 02:09 PM
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